Danville is anything but quiet on police ride-along
Alamo’s throwing a party — and everyone’s invited
NEWS & ANALYSIS provided by DanvilleExpress.com & SanRamonExpress.com
AL A MO
SAN R A MO N SEPTEMBER 2011
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THANK YOU Team Jim Black Voted Best Mortgage Broker
We look forward to the opportunity to help with your Real Estate Financing Needs Jim Black (925) 285-4898 James.Tyler.Black@BankofAmerica.com www.MeetJimBlack.com
Kelly Copland (925) 487-4517 Kelly.Copland@BankofAmerica.com www.KellyCopland.com
7 Railroad Avenue, Stes. 7&9 Danville, CA 94526 “Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. © 2011 Bank of America Corporation. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. This is not a commitment to lend. Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.”
16 9 READERS CHOICE 10 Danville 16 San Ramon
FEATURES 21 San Ramon Valley is home to 17 sex offenders Three live by parks, another by an elementary school
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
22 Drugs, handcuffs, arrests: Danville proves to be anything but quiet Reporter sees action on police ride-along 25 Alamo is giving a party, and everyone is invited 29th annual Music and Wine Festival is Sept. 10
DEPARTMENTS 6 Our Views Making choices 26 Health Five male weight loss myths â€” and the truth behind them 28 Goings on Calendar of events in the San Ramon Valley
ON THE COVER Central Park in San Ramon was chosen by the readers in that city as the best place for a picnic. Photo by Jessica Lipsky. Design by Lili Cao.
ROSE GARDEN | IN DANVILLE Come see TAINTED LOVE FREE concert at Maria Maria on September 8th. 5-8pm Syca
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Maria Maria Inspired Mexican cuisine with a modern ﬂair.
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
OUR VIEWS Making choices
What’s your favorite restaurant? Where do you like to buy your groceries? What’s the best place for a ﬁrst date? In this issue we announce the winners in our Readers Choice contests in which residents voted online for their favorite things in Danville and in San Ramon. Looking over the winners of the dozens of categories reinforced for us just how much this area has to offer. We hear oldtimers — and not such oldtimers — talk about how not so long ago they had to travel to San Francisco for good entertainment, to buy the latest fashions, or to enjoy a gourmet meal. Now people ﬁnd everything they need right here. This is good not only for our gas tanks but because it supports our local businesses to keep our community thriving. Also, such purchases keep our tax dollars local, which is important for providing public services in this time of tight municipal budgets. A purchase made in Danville or San Ramon helps out that city’s bottom line. Even if you sometimes go to Walnut Creek or Pleasanton for the convenience of their malls, it helps your city if you return home to buy your groceries, ﬁll up at the gas station, or go to the drugstore. Let’s choose to spend our money at home. —Our Views are just that as we explore subjects that pique our interest. What are your views? Let us know at: views@DanvilleExpress.com views@SanRamonExpress.com
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Best Pizza in Danville 2011
FREE DELIVERY VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
(with minimum order)
“The Best Pizza West of New York” — Ralph Barbieri (KNBR 680) 720 Camino Ramon, Danville (925) 837-9800 (Located in the Rose Garden Center, Just off I-680 at Sycamore Valley Road)
4640 Tassajara Rd., Dublin (925) 875-1600 (In the Shops at Waterford, Just off I-580)
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RE S TA U R A N T A N D B A R 267 Har t z Ave Danville, C A 9 4 526 P: 925 820 6611 T he P e asan t A nd T he P e ar.c om
“Best Senior Living Community in San Ramon” (5th consecutive year) Thanks for choosing us again!
VILLA SAN RAMON Independent Living s Assisted Living 9199 Fircrest Lane, San Ramon, CA 94583
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
September 9th-30th Îä¯ÊvvÊ-iiVÌÊÀÊ`iÃÊUÊÓäÎä¯ÊvvÊ ÕÃÌÊ"À`iÀÃÊUÊÓx¯ÊvvÊVViÃÃÀiÃ
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
A Leader in Independent & Assisted Living
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THANKS FOR VOTING
his year we held the second annual Readers Choice for everyone to vote for their favorite things in Danville and San Ramon. Before that, we held the contest for three years in the Danville Weekly. Ballots were online at www.DanvilleExpress.com and www.SanRamonExpress.com for a month, enabling readers time to cast their votes. We hope your vote was counted! If not, keep an eye out for the contest next year. Meanwhile, enjoy the results of this year’s contest. We always like to learn what places and services our readers choose. It’s a good chance to hear about new things — and to remember the old. The winners will also be posted on our websites. As usual, we welcome comments, either on the sites or to Views@DanvilleExpress.com or Views@SanRamonExpress.com. JESSICA LIPSKY
Patrons crowd That Bar, voted best place to get together with friends, on a hot Friday afternoon.
READERS PICK THEIR FAVORITE IN OUR READERS CHOICE CONTEST
for voting Zachary’s BEST PIZZA 2011!
Established in 1983, Zachary’s has been honored with over 150 ‘Best Pizza’ awards. Oakland
5801 College Ave (510) 655-6385
1853 Solano Ave (510) 525-5950
3110 Crow Canyon Pl (925) 244-1222
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
~Zachary’s Employee Owners
READERS CHOICE WINNERS
The Danville Farmers Market is held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday and features fresh produce, treats and goods from local farms.
AROUND TOWN Best Auto Dealership — Dirito Brothers in Walnut Creek. One of the largest Volkswagen dealers in the country, this family-owned business has received several awards for customer service.
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
Best Danville Area Real Estate Ofﬁce/Realtor — J. Rockliff. With ofﬁces in Danville, Blackhawk, Pleasanton and Livermore, J. Rockliff Realtors is one of the fastest growing companies in the state. Its relocation department provides home buying or selling assistance around the corner or across the globe.
Best Kept Secret Treasure of Danville — Museum of the San Ramon Valley. Located in the renovated Southern Paciﬁc Train Depot on Railroad and Prospect, the Museum is a must-see for a perspective on the town’s history. Best Mortgage Broker/Brokerage — Bank of America, Jim Black. Mortgages are tricky business. Whether you need to reﬁnance, redesign or just have someone repeat the information, our readers like Jim Black for his nearly 20 years of experience. Best Senior Living Facility — Diablo Lodge. Lush and plush, this is the best place to relax and enjoy a lifetime of labor. If raucous and rowdy are more your style, one reader suggests visiting Elliott’s bar. Best Travel Agency — Danville Travel. When the Internet just
won’t do, residents turn to staff at this agency for all their challenging itineraries and unique destinations.
HEALTH & BEAUTY Best Day Spa — Tribez. With a wide range of skin care treatments and massage services, our readers go to Tribez for a relaxing hour — or day — of pampering. Best Fitness Club — ClubSport San Ramon. Located at the top of Bollinger Canyon Road, this lavish gym includes spa services, a pool and a variety of classes. Catch up on your favorite television shows while getting in shape. Best Hair Salon for Men — Sport Clips. Television, shoulder rubs and a clean cut — get what you don’t at home at this malefocused salon. It has locations in Danville and San Ramon. Best Hair Salon for Women — Tribez. Looking for more than uptight up-dos and tired trims? Our readers visit Tribez’s 38 stylists for the latest looks. Best Manicure/Pedicure — Bollinger Nails. If your dogs are barkin’, ease their troubles with a relaxing spa pedicure. Hardworking hands get the royal treatment. Best Martial Arts Studio — America’s Best Karate. Kids of all ages and levels can kick, punch and spar their way to better
DANVILLE READERS CHOICE WINNERS self-esteem and ﬁtness. Best Place to Walk, Jog or Bike — Iron Horse Trail. Rollerblades and scooters are also acceptable along the 33-mile stretch of former railroad. Best Yoga/Pilates — Danville Yoga Center. Various levels of yogis practice the sun salutation at this serene studio.
THANK YOU DANVILLE for voting Piatti Ristorante BEST Italian in the 2011 Reader’s Choice!
SHOPPING Best Art Gallery — Blackhawk Gallery. This gallery, located in Blackhawk Plaza, is run by the members of the Alamo-Danville Artists’ Society. It’s a great place to browse for a piece of local art. Best Athletic Apparel Store — Forward Motion. Start with the shoes and go from there. Its Race Club is the leader for recreational runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes. Best Bicycle Shop — California Peddler. This shop on Hartz has everything for cycling needs, from the bike itself to replacement parts, accessories, people to give you advice and jerseys featuring the California bear on a bike. Best Bookstore — Rakestraw Books. Stop in to browse, buy the latest bestseller or see what’s new. Staff will order any book so
100 Sycamore Valley Road West www.piatti.com ll 925-838-2082
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
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DANVILLE READERS CHOICE WINNERS there’s no need to go online for your reading material. Rakestraw features frequent author visits, book clubs and more.
with a perfect ﬁt? Our readers say to head for this shop in the Livery. Its brands may cost a little more but they are of good quality.
Best Discount Store — Rick’s Picks. Everyone loves a deal but no one more than Rick Hirshberg, who makes a livelihood by sharing his best bargains with his customers at his shops on Hartz Avenue in Danville and on Main Street in Pleasanton.
Best Wine Store — Beverages and More. The store on Diablo Road offers 333 wines but prices are best during 5 cent sales when it’s buy one, get the second one for a nickel. It also has tastings.
Best Florist — East Bay Florists. Located in the Livery, this shop is lovely inside and out. For special occasions or just because — say it with ﬂowers. Best Framing Shop — Richard’s Arts and Crafts. Head to the back of Richard’s in Alamo to view readymade frames and molding for custom frames or to do it yourself, with the help of staff. Best Grocery Store — Trader Joe’s. Its inventory is smaller than that of supermarkets, which is how it keeps prices low. TJs has all the basics plus fresh foods, packaged and frozen from appetizers to entrees to desserts to make your eating interesting and nutritious. Best Hobby/Craft Store — Richard’s Arts and Crafts. We dare you to walk through this store without considering taking up a crafty hobby, from beading to artiﬁcial ﬂower arranging to scrapbooking. It’s also holiday headquarters. Best Home Accessories — Elegant Clutter. Now that the basics are in place, head to the Livery to buy those ﬁnishing touches for your home. The store is relaxing and well-appointed, just as your home can be. Staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Best Home Consignment Shop — Home Consignment Center. This is one of those places that should be on everyone’s regular route as the inventory changes often and you never know what is in store for you. It also carries vintage and contemporary jewelry.
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
Best Home Furnishings — Elegant Clutter. Comfortable and eye-catching, the furnishings are sure to tempt you. Be sure to visit the sale room.
Best Jewelry Store — Smith Jewelers. This full-service jeweler has everything that sparkles, from diamonds to watches to Waterford crystal. It also has custom made 14K gold charms of the Danville Oak Tree. Best Maternity Store — Snickerdoodles. This upscale children’s resale boutique also has a maternity section so you can look great while awaiting the big event. Best Men’s Clothing Store — McCaulou’s. This store carries the basics for men, from Levi’s to Columbia, which may be why our readers like it.
Best Women’s Clothing Store — Chico’s. Maybe it’s the slimming jeans, the trendy jackets, the T-shirts that wear well through a thousand washings, or the chunky jewelry.
EPICURE Best American Food Restaurant — Esin Restaurant and Bar. Owners Curtis and Esin deCarion say they create American fare with Mediterranean inﬂuences, all fresh and seasonal. Our readers say they love it. Best Bakery — Danville Old Towne Bakery. Cupcakes just like your mom used to make. Bite-sized cookies to complete a meal. Multitiered cakes for special occasions. Our readers recommend this bakery, which opened in 1952. Best Breakfast — Katy’s Korner. Who knew eggs benedict could be prepared so many ways? Our readers, who chose this restaurant in San Ramon as their favorite. Corned beef hash also comes recommended. Best Burger — Tower Grille. The Tower Burger is half a pound of ground certiﬁed Angus, and it comes with a side of french fries, buffalo fries, garlic fries, soup, salad, fruit, mashed potatoes or potato salad. A Tower Turkey Burger is also on the menu. Best California Cuisine/Innovative Dining — The Peasant and the Pear. “Great food is fresh food” is the mantra at the Pear, which is why its menu is seasonal, an important aspect of California cuisine. The chefs continually surprise with their creations from fresh ingredients. Best Chinese Restaurant — Uncle Yu’s. This restaurant, with three branches including one in San Ramon, offers traditional Szechuan fare plus innovative contemporary dishes. Best Deli — Domenico’s. Forty meats and 30 cheeses to be mixed and matched on fresh artisan bread delivered daily. Yum! Add one of the 60 homemade rotating salads, and go next door to Domenico’s Café afterward for its famous gelato. Best Dessert — Café Esin. Choices range from a classic crëme brulee to a bittersweet chocolate fudge brownie with caramel pecan sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. Or enjoy cheese with dessert wine.
Best Place to Buy a Gift — Elegant Clutter. This shop offers chic items in all price ranges to make gift-giving easier.
Best Fresh Produce — Danville Farmers Market. The sellers take pride in the produce and are helpful with cooking tips. The market also has specialty food items and fresh ﬂowers at good prices.
Best Shoe Store — Shuz of Danville. Looking for comfortable shoes
Best Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop — Yogurt Shack. This family-owned
DANVILLE READERS CHOICE WINNERS shop has expanded to three locations but the one on Hartz at Diablo Road is the favorite here. Its website lists the day’s ﬂavors, which always include non-dairy, low-fat and no-sugar. Best Italian Restaurant — Piatti’s. Lunch, brunch and dinner — it’s Italian! With a separate menu for food service at the bar. The ambience is great, too, with an open kitchen and stone pizza hearth. Best Independent Coffeehouse — Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Our readers must be Peetniks — they’re real fans of Peet’s coffee. Or maybe it’s the location our readers love, right off the Iron Horse Trail. Best Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Restaurant — Faz Restaurant and Bar. Owner Faz Poursohi grew up in Tehran, where he learned to love cooking. Our readers crave the kabobs but in the summertime the redwood grove in the Hartz Avenue restaurant is also a draw. Best Mexican Restaurant — Maria Maria. The stunning décor at this restaurant in the Rose Garden and the menu are inspired by legendary musician Carlos Santana. The Mexican dishes may be traditional but the approach is innovative. Best Outdoor Dining — Bridges. It’s hard to believe when sitting on the pleasant Bridges patios that you are only a few short steps from the hustle and bustle of Hartz Avenue. Its gardens have inspired many a patio in Danville.
Best Pizza — Amici’s. This “East Coast pizzeria” is, luckily for our readers, located on the West Coast, right in the Rose Garden. The traditional Italian brick oven melds the ﬂavors and produces crispy yet slightly chewy crusts. Best Place for a Business Lunch — Bridges. Enjoy a good meal while talking business in this quiet setting with good service. Lunch menu includes small plates, salads, sandwiches and more. Best Romantic Restaurant — Bridges. Day or night, the bridge mural on the wall is a perfect backdrop for couples who want mainly to gaze into each other’s eyes. Best Salad — The Peasant and the Pear. Caesar, Cobb, Waldorf, Nicoise are on the menu, along with the Bishop Ranch and the Black and Blue, which is pan-seared grass-fed ﬁ let mignon tips and Point Reyes Blue Cheese on romaine with blue cheese dressing, topped with crispy fried onions. Best Sushi/Japanese Restaurant — Tie: Kane Sushi Japanese Cuisine; Fish on Fire Sushi Bar and Grill. Kane, on north Hartz, specializes in rolls, many named after the patrons who invented and requested them. Fish on Fire, in Town and Country Shopping Center, has great sushi as well as tempura and teriyaki. Best Take-out Restaurant — High Tech Burrito. Burritos are fast,
PORTEOUS FAMILY DENTISTRY
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“Let Our Family Be Your Family Dentist”
Paciﬁc Contract Designs 12903 Alcosta Blvd Ste C, San Ramon
925-866-1801 *Manufacturer’s rebate offer valid for purchases made 9/13/11 – 12/12/11. Rebate offers may not be combined; there is a limit of one rebate per qualifying unit. For each qualifying unit purchased, the higher applicable rebate amount will apply. Other limitations and restrictions apply. All rebates will be issued in U.S. dollars, in the form of an American Express® Prepaid Reward Card. **For tax credit details and restrictions and a list of qualifying products, ask a salesperson or visit hunterdouglas.com/taxcredit. Hunter Douglas and its dealers are not tax advisors. The tax credit for 2011 is subject to a limitation based in part on the amount of Section 25C credits taken in prior years. It is recommended that you consult your tax advisor regarding your individual tax situation and your ability to claim this tax credit. ©2011 Hunter Douglas. ® and TM are trademarks of Hunter Douglas.
for new patients (reg $450)
(925) 736-9000 3840 Blackhawk Road Suite 110 Danville Across Blackhawk Rd. from Draeger’s Market
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If you have an aching tooth, want to maintain your good dental health, are interested in improving your smile or just have questions or concerns, please call our office. We look forward to meeting you. Providing Full Service Dentistry For The Entire Family
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
Style for your windows, savings for you. Hunter Douglas window fashions are always a smart choice for creating inviting, attractive spaces. Now through December 12, 2011, mail-in rebates let you enjoy select styles at a savings of $25 to $300 per unit.* Purchase and install their energy-efﬁcient Duette® Architella® Honeycomb Shades before the end of this year, and you may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $500.** Ask us for details.
We are celebrating 29 years in practice in the Bay Area. Our practice is dedicated to treating and preventing dental diseases in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. It is our philosophy to give each person the same respect, care and concern that we would want to receive as a patient.
DANVILLE READERS CHOICE WINNERS fresh and custom-made. But would someone please explain why it is “high tech”? Best Thai Restaurant — Thai House Restaurant. Enter into the Land of Smiles as you step into this rustic old house on Rose Street in downtown Danville. The food is tasty, and each dish is arranged artistically and delivered with charm. Best Wine Bar — The Vine at Bridges. It offers more than 350 wines from around the world, which must help its rating, with 35 choices by the glass, happy hour snacks and live music Thursday-Saturday nights.
KIDS & PETS Best Children’s Clothing Store — Snickerdoodles. Get the hippest children’s fashions at the cheapest prices. This consignment center is also a treasure trove of toys and decorations. Best Pet Groomer — Shampooches. Dirty dogs get clean at this competitively priced, professional grooming salon. Cats, too! Best Pet Sitter — Paws and Claws Pet Sitting. This independent owner provides sitting services as well as dog walking and a pet taxi. Best Store for Pets — Pet Food Express. Express your love for your pets by attending its in-store events, self-service pet wash and checking out all the food that’s ﬁt to feed.
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
Best Tutoring School — On Track Learning. Help your student get ahead with private or small group tutoring, math clubs and transitional training. Best Veterinarian — Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center. Discerning pets and their people like the convenience of one-stop shopping. For food, pharmacy and emergency services needs, our readers visit Bishop Ranch.
HOME & VEHICLE MAINTENANCE Best Antique Store — Cottage Jewel. This boutique has one-of-akind treasures for the home and to wear. Like any treasure hunt, it goes on and on — stop in to this downtown shop often. Best Car Repair — Danville Service Center. Readers rave about the work done at this shop on Linda Mesa. Work is good and timely, prices are fair, and customers and their cars are treated well, say reviews. Best Car Wash — Tie: Sponges, Chamois Hand Car Wash. Sure, you can wash the car yourself in the driveway but who wants to? And don’t you always miss a spot? Best Flooring Store — Diablo Flooring. This place has a wide selection of ﬂooring, from pure wool carpets to stylish tiles to hardwood ﬂoors to laminates, bamboo, vinyl and everything in between.
DIABLO FLOORING, INC
CARPET • HARDWOOD • LAMINATE • TILE • VINYL Diablo Flooring Inc. is here to bring the best possible pricing with the most beautiful and complete installation to the Bay Area. We are a small store which lets us give you the attention needed for a more professional experience. We cater to residential & commercial customers, designer, contractors, and developers.
THANK YOU FOR VOTING FOR US:
(925) 426-RUGS (7847)
(925) 988-WOOD (9663)
5600-D Sunol Blvd, Pleasanton, CA 94566
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VISIT OUR SHOWROOM OR Shop@Home WWW.DIABLOFLOORING.COM
License #898787ÊUÊ `i`ÊUÊÃÕÀi`ÊÕ«ÊÌÊfÓÊ
Best Flooring Store
DANVILLE READERS CHOICE WINNERS Best Hardware Store — Tassajara Valley Ace Hardware. This store offers the convenience and helpful staff of an old-fashioned downtown hardware store. Best Home Improvement Contractor — Gayler Construction. Looking to upgrade your kitchen? Your bathroom? How about the whole house? Our readers like Gayler for beautiful, long-lasting remodels. Best Interior Designer — J. Hettinger Interiors. These people have ideas galore and solutions for every design problem. Jerry’s mission is to bring joy and fulﬁllment to every client. Best Nursery/Garden Center — Navlet’s. Plants from ground covers to trees and everything in between keep our readers returning to this anchor of the Rose Garden. Don’t forget to buy bird seed. Best Tire Store/Service Center — Big O Tires. The four big O’s that hold up your vehicle are just as important as the engine and our readers recommend this shop for its large inventory and dependable service.
OUT AND ABOUT Best Golf Course — Blackhawk Country Club. These two 18-hole, par 72 championship courses make dramatic use of natural terrain and water features and keep getting more beautiful as the landscape matures. Best Happy Hour — Bridges. Its happy hour menu is renowned
throughout the region as the best place for a good light meal in beautiful surroundings with a wide choice of libations. Best Place for a Picnic — Mount Diablo. Drive it, bike it, hike it, visit for the day or the night — and remember the picnic! In the springtime you may dine to a backdrop of wildﬂowers. Best Place for Dancing — Meenar’s. I guess it ain’t called Meenar’s Music Club for nothing. Folks come from far and wide to dance here. Best Place to Get Together With Friends — That Bar. This lively place on Prospect Avenue with its dueling piano bar quickly caught on as a great venue for spending the evening with friends. Best Place to Have a First Date — The Peasant and the Pear. Great food and place for conversation, which are the ticket for a successful date, whether the ﬁrst or one of many. The eatery is tucked away off Hartz so a walk through downtown Danville can prolong the evening. Best Place to People Watch — Starbucks on Hartz Avenue. This corner is arguably the busiest in town and a lot of the trafﬁc is on foot. Patrons can also watch the construction at the Veterans Hall. Best Public Event — Fourth of July Parade. This red, white and blue extravaganza is a true community celebration, and the DanvilleExpress. com/SanRamonExpress.com Marching Band always places ﬁrst. ■
Thank You To The Danville & San Ramon Communities For Voting Us
“Best Consignment Store” Danville & San Ramon
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
“Best Home Furnishings & Best Home Accessories” San Ramon
READERS CHOICE WINNERS
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
Kids keep cool at Central Park’s water fountain. With its wide lawns, numerous ﬁelds and shady trees, the park was voted best place for a picnic. A staple of the park for years, the “giant mushroom” is a fun alternative to the local pool.
HEALTH AND BEAUTY
Best auto dealership — Lawrence Volvo in Walnut Creek. An experienced sales staff exudes enthusiasm and encourages residents to browse their online inventory and schedule a test drive. They even help ﬁnd the best ﬁnancing option.
Best Day Spa — Ma Jolie Salon and Spa. Designed to be the ultimate destination for pampering, owner Karen Phillips and staff offer the latest trends and artistic techniques to transform mind, body and soul.
Best kept secret treasure of San Ramon — The Glass House. Step back in time and visit the elaborately decorated home of David and Eliza Glass, built in 1877. The San Ramon Historic Foundation offers tours on the second Saturday of every month.
Best Fitness Club — ClubSport of San Ramon. Pump iron, shoot hoops and cardio kick your way to peak levels of ﬁtness at this luxurious club. Amenities include a pool, spa services and personal training.
Best senior living facility — Villa San Ramon. The friendly, ﬂexible environment offers tailored solutions to varied resident needs. Villa San Ramon offers three chef-prepared meals daily, scheduled transportation and access to nearby parks, restaurants and shopping. Best travel agency — AAA Travel. Whether you’re planning a family vacation to Disneyland or need a map of Memphis, friendly staff will take care of all your travel needs. This location also offers DMV services to AAA members.
Best Hair Salon for Men — Sport Clip. Specializing in only men and boy’s hair, staff at sport clips will give you the MVP treatment. Watch sports on television while receiving a neck massage and steamed towel treatment — all in about 20 minutes. Best Hair Salon for Women — Ma Jolie Salon and Spa. Reasonably priced haircuts in a luxurious setting as well as hair repair services and styling for all occasions. Best Manicure/Pedicure — Bollinger Nail Salon. Get your nails buffed, scrubbed and polished at this relaxing, brightly lit
SAN RAMON READERS CHOICE WINNERS
Best martial arts studio — Tao Sports in Danville. Master Rick Kemsley has been taking Taekwondo since 1978 and opened this studio with the intention of building student’s self-esteem through ﬁtness and character development. Best place to walk, jog or bike — Iron Horse Trail. Skate, walk, bike or run the right of way of the former Southern Paciﬁc Railroad, established in 1891 and abandoned in 1971. Stretching across several counties, this multi-use trail is the most fun you’ll have for 33 straight miles. Best yoga/pilates — FIT Personal Fitness Studio. Staff at this Danville downtown studio provides much-needed relief from “warehouse” gyms with personal training and the most technologically advanced cardio and resistance machines.
SHOPPING Best Art Gallery — Lindsay Dirkx Brown. See what local artists have to offer at this gallery run by the city of San Ramon. It’s at the city’s community center, 12501 Alcosta Blvd., and has a different gallery exhibit each month. Best Athletic Apparel Store — Tennis Trophies & Tee Time in Danville. Frank and Linda Haswell have put together a great staff, trained to make sure your shoes, clothing and equipment all ﬁt perfectly. Big children’s selection, too. Best Bicycle Shop — Performance Bike in Dublin. Offering a great selection of bikes, bike parts, helmets, shoes, jerseys and shorts at the best prices, a low-price guarantee and the Spin Doctors to repair and customize all brands of bikes. Best Bookstore — Bay Books. This family-owned shop has a great selection of books that changes daily, with half new and half used and rare, and a staff happy to make suggestions on something new to read. Best Discount Store — Tuesday Morning in Danville. Name brand merchandise — the same stuff you’d ﬁnd at upscale department stores — with “legendary savings” for your kitchen, bedroom, bath, home, toys, kids and pets. New merchandise arrives every week and special deals, you guessed it, on Tuesday mornings. Best Florist — Crow Canyon Florist. A family owned and operated business committed to offering the ﬁnest ﬂoral arrangements and gifts and dedicated to making your experience pleasant. Best Grocery Store — Whole Foods. Half the fun of shopping at Whole Foods is checking out the free samples. We may stop by to pick up something fresh for dinner but somehow always manage to
drop $10 at the immense salad bar. Best Hobby/Craft Store — Tie: Richard’s Arts & Crafts in Alamo and Michaels in Dublin. Guys’ names are usually more associated with power tools than crafts, but our readers trust the homegrown Richard’s, with two local stores and its bigger cousin, Michaels, the Wal-Mart of crafts stores. Best Home Accessories — Home Consignment Center. Begun in Danville in 1994, Home Consignment Center had a simple business plan: great stuff at great prices and a fun place to shop. The company has become huge but still remains a two-family business. Best Men’s Clothing Store — Patrick James of Danville. There’s something James Bondish about the name Patrick James, but look for West Coast Classic styles here as well as English tweeds. Patrick and his sons Mike, Patrick Jr. and Clay are building an empire based on quality clothing. Best Place to Buy a Gift — Just a Little Something Gift Shop in Danville. The name says it all. There’s something for everyone and every occasion and it offers complimentary gift wrapping. Best Shoe Store — Hartz & Soles. When you feel like a heel, you can pick up a little sole at this Danville shoe shop. It has a great selection of stylish shoes and sandals from around $50 to $300. Customers rave about its service, too. Best Women’s Clothing Store — Loehmann’s in San Ramon. With designer fashion at 30 percent to 65 percent less than department stores. Any given day you’ll ﬁnd names like Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg or Dolce & Gabbana.
EPICURE Best American Food Restaurant — Brass Door. Established in 1955 when the total population was a little over 100, the Brass Door has been around since before San Ramon was San Ramon. Great steaks, fresh ﬁsh and salads, but no one can remember why it was called the Brass Door, except that it has one. Best Bakery — City of D’lights. Now at a larger location in San Ramon Square, with a new look, new menu and a new name — Cafe Attila. It’s now named for Chef Attila Gogos, the creative force behind the beauty and ﬂavor of this Readers Choice favorite for cakes and pastries. Don’t forget its wedding cakes. Best Breakfast — Ruggie’s Restaurant. Gotta love a place that serves breakfast all day. Patrons love the service, the fresh food and the large portions. The folks here don’t take themselves too seriously, either: You can order “one measly egg” or a “slightly deformed wafﬂe” off the kid’s menu.
VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
salon. Manis and pedis are relaxing treatments that you continue to enjoy with every glance at your hands and feet.
SAN RAMON READERS CHOICE WINNERS Best Burger — In-N-Out Burger. One food critic called the In-N-Out burger the “burger of burgers,” and burgers are all they do. The long lines just make ﬁnally getting that Double Double with cheese and onions all the sweeter.
to stop at City of D’lights (now Cafe Attila and at a new, larger location) for an applewood bacon and cheese scone, the rum- and espresso-soaked ladyﬁngers or the cappuccino, lemon poppyseed, blueberry or almond mufﬁns.
Best California Cuisine/Innovative Dining — Esin Restaurant & Bar. Café Esin is consistently named our Readers Choice. Kudos to husband and wife chef team Curtis and Esin deCarion, their inventive use of fresh ingredients and their six dessert specials a day (on top of the regular choices on the menu).
Best Ice Cream/Yogurt Shop — Cold Stone Creamery. Nobody serves up the ultimate indulgence like Cold Stone: the highest quality ingredients all blended on a frozen granite stone. Founders Donald and Susan Sutherland were driven by their passion to create the world’s best ice cream.
Best Chinese Restaurant — Uncle Yu’s. Traditional Chinese cuisine melded with modern styles, so you can get anything from hot and sour soup and Mongolian beef to contemporary specials like smoked salmon on a bed of cucumber noodle, baby spinach, and sautéed with a shitake mushroom soy vinaigrette. Uncle Yu’s had been our Readers Choice for years.
Best Independent Coffee House — Has Beans. This mom and pop coffee house has been around for 25 years, and the owners take a special pride in personal customer service. People love the prices, too.
Best Deli — Erik’s Deli. Erik’s relies on the same keys to success it did when it started in 1973: a warm atmosphere, fast, friendly service and quality food. Slow-simmered soups, fresh salads and bakery goods are made from scratch using family recipes and only the freshest ingredients. Best Dessert — City of D’lights. People will drive out of their way
Best Italian Restaurant — Giuseppe’s. Giuseppe’s was established in 1998, and owner Joseph Marra has a passion for great food and a degree in enology, the study of wines. A popular favorite for early 13 years, plus, it’s housed in an old bank, which makes for great conversation. Best Mexican Restaurant — Casa Orozco in Dublin. Hard work and Mama’s recipes have made this place a popular favorite since it opened in 1984. It’s no wonder our readers take the drive from San Ramon to Dublin for the food here. Me gusta Casa Orozco.
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
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SAN RAMON READERS CHOICE WINNERS Best Outdoor Dining — Fat Cactus. A great place for a freshly made strawberry margarita on the outdoor patio next to the fountains and enjoy some music and food. Two things you need to know about Fat Cactus: It’s never too crowded during lunch, and it has a bottomless mimosa brunch. Best Pizza — Zachary’s. With over 150 best pizza awards since it was established in 1993, it’s easy to understand why Zachary’s is our Readers Choice for best pizza. Zachary’s offers two styles of pizza, a Chicago-style stuffed pizza and a traditional thin crust pizza. Plus, it’s employee owned.
mexican restaur ants
Best Place for a Business Lunch — Giuseppe’s. Linen napkins and tablecloths, fantastic food and a great lineup of wines make Giuseppe’s a great place to impress a client. Food always tastes better when someone else is paying.
Best Salad — Saladz n’ More. Now Fresh Millions, this place is committed to serving organic, sustainably grown ingredients whenever possible. Made to order, hand tossed salads, with organic lettuces, housemade dressings, shrimp or bacon, with freshly baked bread on the side. Best Sushi/Japanese Restaurant — Little Madﬁsh. This Japanese restaurant is taking the East Bay by storm. Recently opened in San Ramon, Little Madﬁsh offers 55 different rolls and sashimi but it also has Japanese noodle soups, charbroiled dishes, Japanese curry, rice bowls and Bento boxes. Best Take-out Restaurant — Ha’s. Clean, modern and cozy, Ha’s offers great food in the $10 range. Great potstickers and honey walnut prawns and a lunch special even on weekends. Get there early, though — the kitchen closes at 9 most nights. Best Thai Restaurant — Thai Café. Tasty food at reasonable prices and a friendly staff, which is why Thai Café is a consistent Readers Choice. Thai one on.
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Thank You for Voting Us “Best Mexican Restaur ant” The Orozco Family Family Owned & Operated Since 1984 Family Friendly Award Winning Food, Beautiful Shaded Patio Full Bar, Large Dining Room, Take Out & Catering
KIDS AND PETS Best pet groomer — Shampooches. “Tails are waggin’ and pets are braggin’” at this competitively priced cat and dog salon. Pamper your pet with a custom cut from experienced, professional groomers. Best store for pets — Pet Care Depot. Specializing in dog, cat, bird and small animal products, the Depot has the largest
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VIEWS SEPTEMBER 2011
Best Romantic Restaurant — Incontro. In Italian, incontro means encounter, or the coming together — not a bad start for a romantic night. In this case, though, it means the coming together of the cuisine from northern and southern Italy. While you’re there, try a ﬂirtini!
SAN RAMON READERS CHOICE WINNERS selection of veterinarian prescription diets in the Tri-Valley. Best tutoring school — Tutoring Club. Whether your child is falling behind or trying to get ahead, staff promise results in just 32 hours of work. Best Veterinarian — Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center. Featuring primary care, emergency services, boarding, grooming and much more, Valley residents and their furry friends are in good hands — or paws.
HOME & VEHICLE MAINTENANCE Best Car Repair — Autowerks European. Whether you drive a Mini or a Maserati, Autowerks European can save you big bucks over the dealer. Owner Paul C has been working on European cars since 1995. Best Car Wash — Sponges Car Wash & Detail Center. Sponges has been tops in the car wash category for years. With a gift shop and café, you can relax while your car gets clean, plus Sponges is a big supporter of local charities, including San Ramon schools. Best Flooring Store — Carpet One. Locally owned and operated, Carpet One has a 100 percent guarantee that you’ll love your ﬂoor, and a Healthier Living Carpet Installation System to minimize allergens, mold, mildew and dust. .%)
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